The Summer Solstice is here! But what is it all about, and how do people around the world celebrate the solstice? The event celebrates the astronomical start of summer and the longest day of the year. The summer solstice occurs every year between June 20 and 22 in the northern hemisphere. It falls on Tuesday this year, with 16 hours and 43 minutes of daylight in the UK.
The solstice has long been associated with fertility, both plant and human, in various parts of the globe.
The words “solstice” and “sistere” come from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (sister) (to stand still).
People have long celebrated the occasion with a range of wonderful cultural festivals and activities all across the world.
The day is marked by sumptuous feasts, bonfires, singing and dancing to traditional tunes, and reconnecting with nature in the majority of cultures.
Here are some of the most fascinating summer solstice traditions and celebrations from around the world.
Summer Solstice Traditions and Celebrations Around the World
- Sunrise at Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge, Wiltshire’s world-famous stone circle, hosts one of the oldest and most well-known summer solstice festivities.
Thousands of druids, pagans and regular people visit each year to witness the beautiful sunrise over the sacred location. Surprisingly, the historic stones align exactly with the sun’s movement.
If you stand in the monument’s center, you may view the sunrise just to the left of the Heel Stone, a big standing stone outside the stone circle. The purpose of the stunning boulder formations may remain a mystery, but they provide the ideal setting for a spectacular solstice celebration.
Related Reading: 5 Trending Colors for 2022 that you need for Spring/Summer
- Midsummer, Sweden
The Swedes celebrate the summer solstice like no other country. The day of celebration is known as ‘Midsummer’ in Sweden. It is most regularly observed in the Swedish countryside, particularly in Dalarna, Riksgränsen, and Gothenburg, the country’s second-largest city.
Gathering with family and friends, raising and dancing around a maypole, decorating dwellings with greenery, and enjoying good food and drink are all traditional Midsummer activities.
- Juhannus (Midsummer), Finland
Midsummer is also a significant date in the Finnish calendar. In honor of the Ukko, the deity of the sky, weather, harvest, and thunder in Finnish mythology, the festivities are known as Juhannus or Ukko’s festival. The lighting of massive bonfires on the eve of Midsummer has long been a solstice tradition in the Nordic countries. It is thought to ward off evil spirits and ensure a plentiful harvest. Traditionally, bonfires are lit along the shores of lakes, rivers, and the sea.
- Mass Yoga in New York, United States
Thousands of yoga enthusiasts travel from all over the world to Times Square in New York City each year to celebrate the summer solstice with free yoga classes.
“Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga,” an annual yoga festival, began in 2003 to keep the city people-centered, focused, and present.
One of Spain’s greatest annual festivals celebrates the coming of summer.
The Night of San Juan (also known as the San Juan Bonfires) is a solstice celebration centered on fire that takes place on the eve of June 23.
According to legend, the bonfires lit on this night help in the healing of skin disorders and the purification of the body and soul.
Various traditions vary throughout Spain, but fire-jumping is a typical practice. The hair-raising (or singeing) activity is thought to provide good luck for the rest of the year, with people jumping over a bonfire at least three times. In San Juan rituals, water is also very essential. People, according to tradition, take a midnight dip in the ocean to wash away any evil spirits.